Here are bills that matter this session and are worth watching. See the Freedom Foundation’s analysis below . This analysis was prepared by Scott Roberts of the Freedom Foundation. For more information go to www.myfreedomfoundation.com
Budget and Taxes: HB 2127 Proposed Supplemental Budget for 2011-2013 – Cuts spending, shifts funds and increases revenue through a new tax and revocation of a tax preference. Read our overview of the House Democrats’ budget proposal for more info. Fails to address systemic problems that led to government over-spending, continues habit of playing budget games to balance the books.
Transportation: SB 6445 Concerning the Interstate 5 Columbia river crossing project. Designates the Columbia River Crossing project as a toll facility and allows total project expenses up to $3.4 billion. Increases fees and taxes
Elections: HB 2205 Allowing 16 and 17 year olds to register to vote. Would allow 16 and 17 year olds to file a voter registration form, which would be held pending until they were 18, at which time they would be made active voters. Mixed result. Would standardize current practice, thus improving accuracy. But would continue down path of convenience over security by adding more ineligible voters to database and relying on Secretary of State to prevent them from getting ballots while ineligible.
Budget: HB 2607 Requiring Six-Year Budget Forecast Requires Office of Financial Management to include a six-year financial outlook for state expenditures and revenue with governor budget proposals. Increases accountability and potentially decreases unwise spending
Budget: ESJR 8222 Balanced Budget Amendment Would prevent legislature or governor from approving a budget that spent more than projected revenues, using a four-year outlook. Potentially decreases over-spending (depending on strength of enforcement), improves accountability.
Licensing: HB 2372 Concerning fees and rates for tow truck services and vehicle storage. Establishes maximum rates for private impounds conducted by certain registered tow truck operators. Decreases individual liberty, decreases personal responsibility, increases regulation
Property Rights: HB 1508 Protecting sport shooting ranges. Provides a sport shooting range with an affirmative defense to a nuisance action based on noise or noise pollution. Increases individual freedom, increases personal responsibility
Labor: SB 6442 Implements cost-savings Consolidates school district employee health benefit purchasing as recommended by the State Auditor to secure efficiencies, cost-savings and transparency. Efficient use of taxes.
Education: SB 5895 Teacher and principal evaluation A milder version of SB 6203 which enhances the teacher and principal evaluation system to require student learning growth as a factor. The legislation also softens the practice of seniority- based teacher retention and job protection for teachers who get the poorest performance review repeatedly. Softens regulations which interfere with free markets
Education: HB 2170 “Career Pathways Act” A variety of actions by the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board and others to encourage and facilitate consideration of students’ employment futures. Funded in the House budget as a new item, this bill has a fiscal note of $355,800. Reduces personal responsibility, increases regulation and ignores free markets.
Transportation: HB 2370 Including health in the state transportation system policy goals. Links obesity to transportation in order to emphasize walking and biking in lieu of vehicle transportation. Fails to address systemic problems that led to government over-spending, continues habit of playing budget games to balance the books
Business: HB 2553 Concerning nonvoting labor members of public transportation governing bodies. Prevents transportation authorities from excluding a nonvoting labor member from executive sessions that do not involve labor contract negotiations. Increases union influence on transportation.
Business: HB 2395 Regulating drayage truck operators. Prohibiting short-haul truckers from being independent contractors. Would require drayage (short-haul) truck drivers to be reclassified as employees. Reduces individual freedom, increases government regulation.